As well as colour, composition and content, attention to surface is an essential element in a good painting. Each brush stroke and mark becomes important.
Increasingly I like my surfaces to be smooth and free of lumps. This is achieved through a combination of sanding, scratching out and polishing with tissue or a dry soft cloth.
When colours are applied in layers they have quite a different effect than a single coat. Something of the 'past lives' and earlier ideas are still often present in the finished work even if it has changed a great deal from the initial sketch. The finished works have history and patina. The story of the evolution of the painting is in its layered marks; in what has been added and taken away; the washes, scrapes, destruction and creation. This history must be tidied and balanced in the completed work. In the final pulling together every mark becomes considered and intentional. The balance between chance and deliberation, chaos and order, produces a final rich patina that would be impossible to achieve if the painting hadn't gone through this journey.